The Golden State Warriors lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets in free agency on Sunday, but they weren’t left completely in the dust. Durant and Brooklyn agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that saw D’Angelo Russell sent to Golden State in return for Durant. The move raised eyebrows around the league, but the motivations were made more clear by Marc Stein on the Dan Patrick show Monday morning.
This makes sense, given that Russell’s fit was highly questionable out in the Bay Area; he and Steph Curry have similar styles and weaknesses, and he wouldn’t have had a spot in the lineup once Klay Thompson returns. The Warriors, meanwhile, had no path to add to their team after Durant’s departure thanks to their cap situation.
They will now search for a suitor for Russell’s talents, and may end up with quite the return. The Timberwolves were most recently linked as a very interested party, but how they’d make the numbers work will be difficult, especially if they can’t send out Andrew Wiggins as a part of the package. While the Warriors probably don’t want to keep Russell, they’d be happy to do so if no one is willing to give them a decent return for the up-and-coming point guard. Worst case scenario is they keep him around for the first half of next season to help offset the losses of Durant and Thompson and sell very high at the deadline. It’s auction time for Russell, and the Warriors hold all their cards.